Camp Hetuck Builds Student Leaders
For the third year, Alec Pajek proudly dons his Camp Hetuck shirt during the annual two-day camp at The Ohio State University at Mansfield.
The camp, which refers to the Erie Native American tribe’s word for “eye of the buck,” is aimed to teach incoming freshman significant leadership skills before the start of the school year.
Pajek, a junior biochemistry major, first began his college experience as a Camp Hetuck camper. He has also participated as a facilitator, and this year has taken the role as a camp coordinator. “As a camp coordinator, I can help with the logistics of how camp runs,” he explains.
During their time at Camp Hetuck, students go through several training sessions focused on learning more about the strengths that they possess and how to further develop those strengths. Through games, icebreakers and the sharing of good food, campers get the chance to make connections with other new students and learn more about who they will spend their first year with at Ohio State Mansfield.
Current students, like Pajek, are able to volunteer as camp facilitators. They are trained by representatives from Ohio State Mansfield and Ohio State’s Office of Student Life on how to encourage participation in activities and lead a group effectively.
“Camp Hetuck is a leadership experience but most importantly it’s about meeting people and letting new students express themselves,” Pajek says. “It’s also about making sure they feel comfortable as they come into Mansfield because the transition to college can be very hard on them as a freshman. It is a great way for them to get their foot in the door.”
Pajek met some of his best friends while participating in Camp Hetuck. However, he almost missed his opportunity to take part in his first year at camp. “I originally had no plans to come to Camp Hetuck,” Pajek explains. “One of the facilitators at that time was from my high school and would be my roommate for my freshman year, and he told me about it. I had one of the best times of my life coming to camp.”
It’s an opportunity Pajek says no student should pass up. “Take the jump into the unknown. You will get to meet new people and try new things. This is the year for being able to open up, explore and be a new you. My Mansfield experience has been awesome.”